愚禿 親鸞 満九十歳
The Venerable Master wrote many works, but he is considered to have begun writing his major work, “Teaching, Practice, Shinjin, and Attainment” about the year 1224 (Gennin 1) when he was living in the Kanto area. He was then 52 years of age.
About the year 1232 (Joei 1), when the Venerable Master was approximately 60 years of age, he returned to his hometown of Kyoto. That was where he wrote the majority of his works, and from where he wrote many letters to his followers who remained in the Kanto area.
Among the unfortunate things that happened to the Venerable Master after returning to Kyoto was having to disown his eldest son Zenran (1209 – approx. 1292 CE). About twenty years after the Venerable Master left the Kanto area (when he was about 80 years of age), the number of people who misunderstood what he had taught began to increase. Because he was too old to travel back to the Kanto area to correct those misunderstandings, the Venerable Master asked his eldest son Zenran to take his place in teaching them correctly. Unfortunately, Zenran found that task extremely difficult. Not only that, it appears that Zenran began taking the side of those who misunderstood the Venerable Master’s teaching, and personally began teaching what is called “secretly transmitted mistaken doctrine” (mitsuden igi 秘事秘伝異義).
Zenran lied to the Venerable Master’s followers in the Kanto area and said that the Venerable Master taught him (Zenran) the truth in secret late at night when no one else was around. That was the mistaken teaching that he spread. It is impossible to determine at this time just what that mistaken teaching was. In a letter dated the 29th day of the 5th lunar month of 1256 (the Venerable Master was 84 years of age) that the Venerable Master sent to Zenran, however, the Venerable Master wrote that he was cutting all ties with Zenran because of the lies that Zenran told the Venerable Master’s followers in the Kanto area.
We can sense the deep sorrow that the Venerable Master must have felt at having to cut ties with his own flesh and blood. It would have been different if the misunderstanding was about some other matter, but when it came to the Nembutsu, he could not look on indifferently.
After writing the letter disowning Zenran, the Venerable Master wrote many other works explaining the Nembutsu.
On the 28th day of the 11th lunar month (January 16th of our modern calendar) during the year 1263 CE, the Venerable Master passed away in Kyoto, surrounded by his younger brother Jinyu-shi 尋有, youngest daughter Kakushin-ni, and his son Masukata Nyudo 有房（益方大夫入道）.
According to the work “Notes on Correcting Errors” (Gaijasho 改邪鈔) written by the Venerable Master Shinran’s great-grandson, Master Kakunyo 覺如上人, the poem that the Venerable Master wrote on the eve of his passing (referred to as a jisei 辞世), is:
When my eyes are closed (forever),
Please offer (my body)
To nourish the fish in Kamo River.
In other words, the Venerable Master expressed his wish to help other sentient beings even after death.
Further, a work titled Hanazono Bunko, published during 1847 to commemorate the 650th year of the Regent Kujo Kanezane’s 九条兼実 passing, contains the following passage titled “Honorable Writing on the End (of the Venerable Master’s) Life” (Gorinmatsu-no-gosho) 御臨末の御書（ごりんまつのごしょ）:
Though I now go to the Pure Land of Peace,
Like the waves of Waka-no-ura Bay和歌の浦曲,
I will return again and again.
When you rejoice alone in the sacred teaching,
Consider that there are actually two.
When there are two who rejoice,
Consider that there are actually three…
And that third will be Shinran.
愚禿 親鸞 満九十歳
In other words, although I (Shinran) have become aged and am now allowed to be born in the Pure Land of Peace and Tranquility (Amida Buddha’s world of Enlightenment), I will not remain there. Rather, I will return to this world again and again, doing all that I can to bring even one more person to the awareness of the precious Nembutsu teaching. (In Jodo-Shinshu doctrinal terms, returning from the Pure Land to help those who remain in this world of delusion (this shaba world), is referred to as “aspect of returning from the Pure Land” (genso).)
The Venerable Master Shinran’s entire life was lived seeking truth and transmitting that truth to even one more person. I believe his sole concern was the happiness of all.